Affordable Spring Attractions in Tucson, Arizona

Snow Skiing in the Desert and More Cool Fun for All Ages

Tucson is unique not just because it’s the native area where Saguaro cacti grow (pronounced sa-war-oh), but because it is a fun and affordable travel destination.

Spring in the Sonoran Desert is filled with colorful and affordable events. Here are just a few Tucson winter visitors, miss, if they cut their stay too short in Southern Arizona for 2009.

MLB Rockies and D-Backs Spring Training Games: Fan Attendance is Up

The Colorado Rockies have warmed-up in Tucson, Arizona since 1993, and the Arizona Diamondbacks since 1998. The Rockies have long been favored, playing at the historic Hi Corbett Field. where Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitor’s Center points out that such greats as Mickey Mantle and Satchel Paige played, and the movie Major League was filmed.

The 2009 ticket prices range from only $5.00 to $25.00. Premiere games are being played this year with the A’s, Mexico Nationals, Royals, Rangers, Cubs, Angels, Indians, White Sox, Angels, and Dodgers. For more information, go to the MLB Cactus League website.

Ski Valley – Southernmost Mountaintop Snow Skiing in the USA

Skiing in the Desert? Yep! Thanks to several great snowstorms this winter, the soft white fluff atop Mt. Lemmon only a 45-minute drive up the Catalina Scenic Byway above Tucson, one can ski all morning and bask in the sun at the Rockies game all afternoon! The skiing season is expected to last until about Easter, or mid-April. It’s not uncommon to find skiers smelling of sun lotion and wearing shorts at Mt. Lemmon’s Ski Valley.

Ski Valley is adjacent to the tiny mountain community of Summerhaven. The snowfall and extended ski season is a welcome surprise in the aftermath of the devastating fire that nearly destroyed the village a few years ago, which relies on visitors such as skiers, campers, and hikers for their living.

If one needs a read bed and shower, the closest lodging is down the mountain in Tucson. Spring camping in the Tucson, AZ area can be a lot of fun, and two sites with multiple spots for both RV’s and tents are open during this season along the Catalina Scenic Byway toward Mt. Lemmon. See the article “Spring Camping in Tucson” for more.

Ski Valley Details:

  • 21 ski runs for beginners, intermediate, expert. Snowboarding is available.
  • Gondolas run year-round, with or without skiing, so all can enjoy Ski Valley’s lovely vistas
  • Rental & gift shop includes ski and snowboard supplies, so don’t bother airline baggage fees.
  • The Iron Door Restaurant offers lunch and dinner, and there is a snack shack also on-site.
  • Sorry, no Nordic skiing on the Ski Valley site, however one is always free to cross-country ski, snow play, and sled in the surrounding BLM lands of the Coronado National Forest. Turn-outs along the Catalina Mtn. Hwy. offer safe parking and picnic areas for such activities.
  • Check Ski Valley’s website for a variety of hours, cost (from $30-$40), and current road conditions.

Festival of the Sun: Solar Potluck & Exhibition

Some joke about cooking an egg on the sidewalk in August, but in Tucson’s Catalina State Park all sorts of yummy treats are baked using the sun’s power in April at the annual Festival of the Sun. The sun is celebrated in every way at this wonderful exhibition of solar power, with everything one might normally power by electricity: appliances, music stage, fountains, water heaters, and more.

The traditional event has been held for 25 years and been free of charge in the past, with free admission to Catalina State Park on the day of the festival. Last year it was held on the last Saturday of the month from 10am-5pm.

With the economic unrest of 2020, Arizona State Legislature is in a discussion about State Parks and fees/costs at this time – Check the websites for Arizona State Parks – at Catalina State Park or Citizens for Solar Organization, as the month of April gets closer for an update.


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